This post originally appeared on my erratically-tended-to blog, are for use. It was posted February 7th in a slightly longer version with the title “doing my everything“. Comments are always welcome, and if you have any talking points that will help me to convince grads that association is in fact the bee’s knees, please add them here or drop me a line at tamahoc at gmail dot com.
this winter semester i have scaled back to one course: advanced oral communications. unfortunately there is nothing advanced about my oral communication skills, and i am feeling like a cat at sea with my ‘speeches’ (aka, impromptu ramblings based on ideas which have flown the coop of my head as soon as i stand in front of my university peers). i have my second presentation next week and decided it might be wise to lower myself to baser methods — such as preparing a script and practicing it — as i attempt to speak fluently and confidently on the reasons why graduating library tech students should join and participate in their professional association.
this is not idle rhetoric — i am super passionate about association. association is a support network, a forum for new ideas, a community of colleagues who are not necessarily work-mates, and an organisation that supports lifelong learning in the profession once academia has had its way with us. i would be remiss in my advocacy duties if i didn’t mention that the library association is also a great network for ladies’ bowling and beer nights. while i love the bowling, it comes in at a close second for all-time reason to sign up: above all, association is a preventative against future boredom.
prior to my life as a library tech the longest i had been at any one job was about a year. the one year anniversary was an epic milestone which would provoke shrieks of fear in my soul and a strong urge to quit said job and move to another country asap (a whim to which i gave in more than once). i am older and calmer now, but not so calm as to think nothing of signing myself up for a career which may prove lifelong. it is a big commitment, and not unlike getting married …which i suppose makes association like ‘date night’ in my ltr with the library? i need it to keep things spicy.
as a technician, having a network for professional development and community is especially important. for ml(i)s librarians there are established norms that recognise the importance of a network for professional development opportunities. for techs however, while the librarians are away at conference we are the ones who run the library. our work positions are more about make-it-happen than about dream-and-scheme, but the dream and scheme piece is so important to me! i need to learn and communicate. i am really happy with my career, but i am also only a couple of years into it and i know this is still officially the honeymoon period. i have little doubt of my capacity for discontent if the going gets too repetitive, so i am bulking up my professional life now with extra education (in the form of a bgs) and lots of professional association projects. there was a time when i thought i would be happy doing less, but i have realised that i am truly happy doing more.
just like we can’t expect our partners to be our everything, i cannot expect my on-call library tech job to be my library-everything. while i have no doubt as to the value of association, i have come face to face with the reality that many of my peers are indifferent to developing community. and since i cannot have a community or a network without a bunch of other people, i am going to have to hone my speaking skills and get persuasive. beyond my class presentation i have promised to speak some inspiring words in march when we host the first ltaig speed-mentoring event for students and alumni of my alma mater, ufv’s library tech program. am i nervous? hells yes. but i am hoping that the necessity of the situation will force me to get good at public speaking. otherwise it is going to be one boring and lonely association…